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The Optimizer: Searching for a Better Life

Optimizers see many potential benefits in their move abroad, and usually they aren’t disappointed. They value a good work-life balance and don’t have trouble settling in abroad.

Optimizers move abroad in order to improve their personal life: three in ten (60%) cite the search for a better quality of life (e.g. climate or personal health) as their most important reason, followed by 28 percent naming financial reasons (e.g. lower cost of living, tax issues). The smallest share of Optimizers moves for political, religious, or safety reasons (12%). Out of all expat types, Optimizers see the most potential benefits in moving abroad. Before relocating, many of them expected an improvement of their general living standards (78%), personal safety (65%), the climate and weather (62%), the cost of living (58%), healthcare standards (53%), and the political situation (36%).

And it seems like their plans have worked out! Most Optimizers are satisfied with the weather (74%) and the quality of environment (79%) in their new country of residence. Both of these percentages are far above the respective global average (61% and 69%). “I love the fresh air and sunshine. The country is so green and picturesque,” says a British expat living New Zealand. Additionally, close to nine in ten Optimizers (88%) feel safe abroad (vs. 82% globally), and 74 percent are satisfied with their financial situation (vs. 67% globally). “I can survive financially without giving up the nice things in life,” reports a Dutch expat living in Italy. Maybe their hopes and dreams coming true is the reason why the Optimizer is the expat type most satisfied with life abroad (83% positive ratings vs. 75% worldwide).

When it comes to their working life, it seems like the Optimizers care about a good work-life balance. The Expat Insider 2018 survey shows that 81 percent work full time, which is slightly below the global average (84%), and the latter also applies to their average working hours (43.4 h vs. 44 h globally). Therefore, it is hardly surprising that Optimizers are especially satisfied with their work-life balance out of all expat types (68% positive ratings vs. 61% globally). Despite somewhat lower working hours, close to three in five (58%) believe that their current income is higher than what they’d get in a similar job back home, five percentage points more than the global average (53%). “Life is easy here. I do not work much and make enough money to travel, save for the future, and afford all my expenses,” reports a US American expat living in China.

Lastly, the Optimizers don’t seem to struggle much with settling in abroad: more than seven in ten (72%) feel at home in the local culture, which is again the highest share among all expat types and twelve percentage points more than the global average (60%). Maybe this is due to the fact that the Optimizers find the local residents generally friendly (77% vs. 69% worldwide) and think it’s easy to make local friends (56% vs. 45% globally).

Frederik Sørensen

"What I really like about InterNations? It's the quality of its members - truly global-minded people willing to help!"

Johanna S. Mattikanen

"Finding work in Ghana is not easy for an expat woman. InterNations members helped me get involved in a charity project."

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